Yesterday, the health department paid a visit to Metro Supermarket after reports of it selling whole frozen raccoons, but no one is really sure whether it's illegal.
Photo via CBS Los Angeles
Los Angeles' food scene has really been coming into its own in recent years; The plethora of impressive, boundary-pushing restaurants, food trucks, and cocktail bars is ever-growing. And because Los Angeles is in California, the most agriculturally rich state, it's no surprise that food professionals and consumers there are privy to some of the world's best produce and product, including citrus fruit, almonds, avocados, dairy, and raccoon meat.
Mmm, raccoon meat. When you see those handsy little bandits rifling through the tuna cans and brown banana peels in your dumpster, doesn't it just make you want to skin off their patchy grey fur, gut them, and roast their little thighs and claws and cheeks to crispy perfection?
But in all fairness, some people do. CBS Los Angeles reports that yesterday, the LA County Health Department paid a visit to Metro Supermarket in Temple City after being tipped off that the store had whole, plastic-wrapped, bloody, fuzzy raccoons just chilling (literally, har har har!) for sale in the freezer section for $9.99 a pound. (Your standard five-and-a-half-pound garbage-sifting furball would ring up at a pricey $55.00.) Despite their evident fur, teeth, and recognizably raccoon-shaped bodies, the raccoons were simply labeled as "FISH DEPT."
When health department officials showed up to ask why in bloody hell the market would think that it's A-OK to sell whole, dead, bloody raccoons of unknown origin, workers shrugged and told them that they had been selling them for years and that they were considered a "delicacy."
As it happens, selling raccoons for meat could be legal in California, depending on where the meat comes from. The store has taken the raccoons out of the freezer bins for now, and will need to file paperwork and obtain approval before continuing sale of the creepy little scavengers.
In an on-screen interview with CBS Los Angeles, horrified customer Christina Dow remarks, "The way it's packaged in the store … you don't see chickens with feathers and blood all over them, and that expression with their tongue hanging out."
Our advice: if you want to chow down on raccoons, be our guest—but at $10 a pound pre-butchery, you're probably better off, at least in a purely economical sense, catching the little rascals as they scamper through your bushes on garbage day. Plus, they'll have a more pronounced terroir of half-composted grapefruit skins and take-out box scrapings.
Or, clean up your city by just scraping 'em hot and fresh off the asphalt, a la Roadkill Connoisseur Alison Brierly. How's that for eating local?